Any native Montanan knows that the best way to tamper with an ecosystem to potentially catastrophic amounts, is by removing the wildlife from that ecosystem and trying to make it a cute and snuggly pet. This doesn’t only negatively affect the ecosystem of the area, but also the natural lifecycle and instinct of the animal. By plucking a wild animal from nature and attempting to integrate it into your domestic life, you’re eliminating the chances that this animal will live a healthy, normal life in the wild. Because once you’ve removed an animal from its habitat with no expertise on how to care for it, or how to reintegrate it, the damage is done.
For millions of years, these animals and these ecosystems have evolved simultaneously to create the perfect symbiotic relationship for both. This balance of life and death, growth and consumption is as delicate as it is vital to the face of the Earth as we know it. By removing an animal from this circumstance, you could be disrupting more than you know.
DISEASES AND PARASITES
It’s also dangerous for you and your family. Wild animals have the potential to be carrying a plethora of diseases and parasites. A bite, or a scratch from them could result in serious health issues for you and your loved ones moving forward! These diseases are called zoonotic diseases, which essentially means that they can be transmitted from animals to humans. Brucellosis, Salmonella, and Ringworm, to name a few.
Additionally, the babies will always grow into their dangerous and instinctively wild adult bodies. What could start out as a soft and adorable kitten, becomes a big and aggressive animal very quickly. And this is only a natural, and incredibly important part of this animal’s life. To strip them of their wild and try to mold them into a household pet is cruel and unrealistic.
Habituation is another big no-no when it comes to maintaining a healthy and wild ecosystem. This means that the animal has gotten used to something that in the natural world it wouldn’t. There’s examples of this everywhere, from birds that depend on tourist bread, to bears that are a little too comfortable invading human spaces. Habituated animals cannot be returned to the wild, because they get much too comfortable living life alongside humans. This becomes an issue when that adorable little bison you plucked from the plains turns into a full grown bull, and can’t live in your 2 bedroom house anymore safely.
It’s illegal in many places. Washington, for example, it’s illegal to possess any in-state wild animals unless you’re transporting them to a certified wildlife rehabilitation center. It’s also illegal to possess any exotic wild animals as well. In Montana you have to have a permit to possess or house in-state wildlife, and it’s illegal to import any exotic wildlife. Check out Angela Montana’s article on two men that were sited for harassing bison in Yellowstone!
At the end of the day, the planet is changing. It’s happening before our very eyes, and that’s inevitable. However, with the power that we have as the ultimate apex species, we’re responsible for maintaining this beautiful place we’ve got. No matter how cute and adorable the baby animal you’re seeing is, do not take it home. Call the professionals to handle it! Hell, you can even sit beside it until help arrives. Check out the Montana Parks and Wildlife site to learn more. Try as hard as you can to stay a neutral party in the process, because at the end of the day, we want to keep Montana wild.